KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

BLACK SABBATH Part 4 – Dio And Gillan Step Up To The Mic

When Black Sabbath parted ways with Ozzy Osbourne after 1978’s Never Say Die!, they wasted no time in replacing him with Ronnie James Dio, former lead singer of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. I was initially introduced to Rainbow via their 1981 hit album Difficult To Cure, featuring Joe Lynn Turner on vocals, but when I went back to the three studio albums they recorded with Dio, that’s when I really became a fan. The physically diminutive singer had the voice of a giant, and he could move from hard rock screaming to soaring operatic vocals with ease. He may not have been the obvious choice to replace Ozzy in Sabbath, since their vocal approaches were quite distinct, but in order for them to be successful in the new decade they needed a change, and Dio turned out to be the perfect singer for them. One of my biggest complaints about the Sabbath catalog so far has been the production of the albums, which paled in comparison to most of their hard rock and heavy metal contemporaries. With the addition of producer/engineer Martin Birch, that would no longer be an issue. Having previously produced &/or engineered great sounding albums by pre-megastardom Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Wishbone Ash and Whitesnake, he gave them a contemporary hard rock sheen that sounded perfect on the radio, and he would soon bring those skills to Iron Maiden, who would clearly be influenced by the albums Birch produced for Sabbath.

The first release by the new lineup was Heaven And Hell (1980), which immediately grabs the listener with “Neon Knights,” a fast-driving song with a great chugging Tony Iommi guitar riff and a snarling Dio vocal performance. If they were a new band, this song would have found them lumped in with the so-called New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, which included up-and-comers Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Diamond Head and many other Sabbath-influenced bands who would go on to influence subsequent generations of musicians. “Children Of The Sea” begins with a pretty acoustic guitar pattern and Dio’s subdued vocals, but gives way to a heavier section and a catchy melody in the chorus (“Oh they say that it’s over…”). This midtempo, theatrical track is a nice counterpoint to the fast riffing of “Neon Knights,” making for a nice one-two punch.

“Lady Evil” is a bass-heavy, 4/4 rocker that’s more of a Rainbow song. It’s got a classic Dio chorus (“Lady Evil, evil, she’s a magical, mystical woman”) and a fuzzy but clean guitar tone & some solid Blackmore-esque guitar leads. I really like this one. They closed out the original Side One of the album with the longest song, “Heaven And Hell.” This is certainly one of the highlights, not just here but in their entire catalog so far. I love the galloping rhythm during the main riff and the sparseness of the verses (driven by Bill Ward’s shuffle beat), which gives the choruses more power (“It goes on and on and on…”). There’s also the classic Sabbath fast part later in the song before it closes with about 40 seconds of quiet acoustic guitar.

The second half of the album isn’t as consistent, but it does include a new favorite: “Die Young.” Beginning with a bed of phased keyboard sounds and Iommi’s subtle lead guitar, the main section is fast-paced, yet they hold back the big hook in the chorus until about 2 minutes in (“Die young, die young, can’t you see the writing on the wall?”). It’s rare that a chorus is the quietest part of the song, but that’s what they do here, especially with Dio’s tender vocal approach. Iommi also delivers a fantastic solo through the outro. “Lonely Is The Word” is the best of the other three songs. The verses are mediocre but I like the chorus. Most of the singing ends after 2 minutes, and then it turns into a sparse epic with a mammoth Iommi guitar solo. He’s also the star of “Wishing Well,” ripping some brief guitar leads during the chorus and throughout the verses. “Walk Away” isn’t terribly memorable, a simple pop/rock song that points to Def Leppard and “Lick It Up”-era Kiss. It’s not a perfect album by any means, but it’s got five incredibly memorable songs that stand proudly among their best, and sonically it’s the finest thing they’ve done so far.

Bill Ward quit during the tour for Heaven And Hell and was replaced by Vinnie Appice, who became an official member on their next album, Mob Rules (1981). His style is heavier than Ward’s, but it perfectly suits the bombastic nature of the music they were writing. For the most part, this Martin Birch-produced sophomore effort from the Dio-fronted lineup offers more of the same, which makes it slightly less enjoyable than its predecessor. There are, however, a handful of standout songs that are as good as anything they’ve done. The nearly 8-minute “The Sign Of The Southern Cross” is an amazing track, and the album’s centerpiece. You can sense something dark and evil in the music, even during the acoustic intro with Dio singing sweetly, “Fade away, fade away, vanish into small.” When the band kicks in, the song becomes huge and heavy, with a great massive guitar riff, and Dio wails on “It’s the sign, feels like the time.” “Mob Rules” reminds me of Queen’s heavier songs, especially Iommi’s guitar riff and Appice’s Roger Taylor-inspired drumming (most notably during the verses). This one is short & sweet, with some excellent stops & starts and a typically wailing solo from Iommi. “Country Girl” is another winner. It’s unlike anything else they’ve recorded, with an old world, almost Celtic vibe. The loping rhythm and fat riff drive this midtempo song, which seems to be about a devil woman (“Fell in love with a country girl…she was up from a nether world”). Although the slow middle section (“In dreams I think of you”; “Sail on, sail on”) sounds a little too much like the previous album’s “Die Young,” I don’t mind that they copied themselves here.

[Black Sabbath – “Country Girl”]

“Falling Off The Edge Of The World” is the last of the truly memorable songs here. Is that an uncredited violin during the quiet intro? If so, it’s a nice addition. The super slow and heavy section reminds me of the first album classic, “Black Sabbath,” which then gives way to a fast section through the remainder of the song. Super heavy album opener “Turn Up The Night” gives us a fast chugging rhythm that I like…but it was done better on the previous album. “Voodoo” is held together mainly by the fluid Iommi riff. The band is at the top of its game but it didn’t make a huge impression. “E5150” is just three minutes of various keyboard sound effects, processed voices and treated bass and guitar. It would work better as the intro to a concept album, but kills the momentum in the middle of the album. Appice channels his inner John Bonham, with a great staggered drum pattern, on “Slipping Away.” It’s not much of a song, but I like the bright chorus (a harmonized “Slipping away, slipping away”) and the alternating bass & guitar leads in the solo section. “Over And Over” closes things out with a slow, booming, plodding rhythm and big tom-tom fills from Appice. It’s a pretty good tune, but it mostly seems like a vehicle for Iommi to showcase his prowess as a guitar god. If this had been the first album they recorded with Dio it would probably seem a lot stronger, but it’s hard to live up to the level set by Heaven And Hell. Still, with at least four absolutely killer songs and another phenomenal production job by Martin Birch, this is an album I will be enjoying again and again.

By the end of the subsequent tour there was a lot of bad blood between the band members, especially Iommi & Geezer versus Dio, and this lineup split up before doing any more recording. They did put together a live album from the Mob Rules tour, Live Evil (1982). I’ve read stories about how each band member would sneak into the studio during mixing sessions when the others weren’t around, trying to boost their own performances, and I think this shows in the final product. Even though, sonically speaking, this is a better record than their earlier live album (Live At Last), it’s still not up to the standards of other live records from that era. I like that the 14 tracks are split evenly between the Ozzy and Dio eras, which makes for an excellent set list, and they sound equally strong on both. I was surprised that Dio didn’t sound as sinister on “Black Sabbath” as Ozzy did on the original, but like everything here the singing and musicianship is superb. Iommi has two nice guitar solos in the extended “Heaven And Hell” and “The Sign Of The Southern Cross” portion of the show, the second being an indulgent solo showcase (most likely when the rest of the band took a bathroom break). This album also has the distinction of being the longest-running CD I own, at just over 80 minutes (I previously thought the limit was 79:59). Sadly, the last track (the brief instrumental “Fluff”) doesn’t play properly, but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of this record. It’s not essential, but it’s a pretty good artifact of a band still at the peak of its powers.

For their next album, Born Again (1983), Sabbath turned to former Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan. On paper this was an excellent match, especially with the return of Bill Ward on drums, but unfortunately there are several serious problems with this record. First of all, there’s the hideous cover art. I’m not sure if it’s the image itself or the choice of colors, but instead of being creepy and scary it’s just ugly. Then there’s the production, which is very thin and tinny, and some of those ‘80s synthetic drum sounds even begin creeping in. Finally, although I love Gillan’s voice, he’s never been a great lyricist, and his work here is no exception. While Dio’s “sword-and-sorcery” fantasy lyrics were a perfect match for the heavy and bombastic music they were creating, Gillan’s more down-to-earth, regular guy lyrics don’t mesh well with the music. One major exception is “Born Again,” which is slow and sparse, creating a nice mood and letting the album breathe after numerous fast rockers (which I’ll get to in a moment). At nearly 6-1/2 minutes and covering various musical terrains, it’s this album’s “The Sign Of The Southern Cross,” an epic that showcases one of Iommi’s most spellbinding solos. Gillan’s voice is incredible as he delivers some amazing high notes, which is the case throughout.

The album begins with “Trashed,” an upbeat rocker which sounds more like Deep Purple, and even the lyrics about a drunken drag race don’t seem like Black Sabbath material. Ward’s drumming is solid, and Gillan’s vocals continue to impress. I especially like the melody at “I was turning, tires burning.” There’s not much to the 2-minute instrumental “Stonehenge,” although it did become the inspiration for the classic scene in the movie This Is Spinal Tap. “Disturbing The Priest” is a silly, minor song that goes on way too long, although it does have a clever title and I really like Iommi’s guitar tone. Gillan’s vocals, as well as his maniacal laugh, give this a nice sinister tone. “Zero The Hero” is also a little silly, but I like it a lot, especially the rousing chorus (“What you gonna be, what you gonna be brother? Zero The Hero!”). It’s the first song here to have a classic Sabbath feel with a dark tone and crushing riff, and a big melodic guitar solo. “Digital Bitch” is an angry screed against a woman he clearly loathes (apparently it was written about Ozzy’s new wife, Sharon Osbourne, and her notorious father, Don Arden). It comes across as a stupid one-note song, which it certainly is, but there’s a certain charm in its blatant stupidity. “Hot Line” is a relatively simple 4/4 rocker with a memorable chorus (“When will you show me a sign? When will you throw me a line?”). Musically it fits in with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. The album closes with the nondescript “Keep It Warm,” a throwaway song that’s really just a backdrop for a stunning Iommi guitar solo. I did enjoy the melody in the chorus, specifically the line “Nobody’s gonna take away our magical ride.”

This was a short-lived lineup. In fact, Ward didn’t even participate in the subsequent tour, with Electric Light Orchestra’s Bev Bevan taking over drumming duties. Although I like a handful of songs on Born Again, the issues I described in the opening paragraph about the album make this a difficult listen. It was probably a good thing that they parted ways with Gillan, who rejoined the classic Deep Purple lineup for their remarkable 1984 comeback album, Perfect Strangers. As for Sabbath, they would go on to record a series of albums in the ‘80s and ‘90s with numerous lineup changes. As I stated in my first Black Sabbath post, I didn’t own any of these albums until I made digital copies of a friend’s CDs several years ago, none of which I’ve listened to…until now. It should be interesting as I check them out for the first time, since I have no idea what to expect. My plan is to go in with an open mind (as always) and hopefully hear some great music, and perhaps to discover one or more underrated classic albums. Let the listening begin.

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19 comments on “BLACK SABBATH Part 4 – Dio And Gillan Step Up To The Mic

  1. Pingback: BLACK SABBATH Part 5 – Resurrected In The Second Half Of The ‘80s | KamerTunesBlog

  2. Deke
    January 17, 2014

    You know Rich,Mob Rules was my first introduction to Sabbath back in 81. I bought it cuz the cover was awesome and plus a friend of my mind was going on how great Heaven & Hell was! ( he was right)… But for the time being it was Mob Rules and as soon I heard Turn On The Night I was hooked just loved the rawness of it and just loved the whole,album period!
    So I bought Live Evil but as much as I liked it I always preferred Ozzys Speak Of The Devil which came out in the same yr and for some reason I just gravitated toward Ozzys live album more.
    And keeping with Sabbath I’m with u 100% on the Born Again sound. God it’s aweful some good tracks as well but man it sounds sound tinny and trebley….ahhh it’s hard to take and than of course after losing Dio/Gillian I just moved on……
    But man Mob Rules is still one I love to this day!
    Your all fools….Mob Rules!

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    • Mob Rules must have been quite an introduction to their music. They were still at the peak of their powers, and the production is huge. I’ve often wondered how Ozzy-era Sabbath sounded to people whose first exposure to their music was during the Dio years. Obviously you like both eras, and since you prefer Ozzy’s live album over Sabbath’s, you must be a fan of both.

      Yep, Born Again is spoiled by the terrible production, but it does have its charms. I know some people who consider it one of their bests, but sometimes I wonder if they’re just trying to be contrary. I know you mentioned that you moved on from Sabbath after the Dio/Gillan albums, but I would suggest you check out some of the later material as well. I don’t think there’s a stone-cold classic among them, but there’s a lot of good music to be found.

      Love your closing remark. Great way to sign off.

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  3. Steve Talpas
    July 15, 2017

    I’m a super duper Born Again fan, and it pains me that this collection gets so little respect, with the flippant “Deep Sabbath” bullshit comments. Unfortunately the text for your 1st paragraph is superimposed over the album cover and unreadable. So No idea on what those thoughts are. Here’s why I dig this album so much:

    Although I will grant you the silliness factor on “Disturbing the Priest” the overall vibe on this album is seriously heavy, moody, and sinister. 1st you look at the much maligned cover, and realize it is a portent of things to come.

    1st song is Trashed, and the Sabs absolutely come roaring out of the gate like Teutonic plunderers, swords in hand. Super fast and heavy, with a crushing riff, and Gillan is on fire, announcing his considerable presence with the 1st of many maniacal screams. Gillans wry sense of humor comes out in the lyrics, which paint a vivid picture of a careening, alcohol soaked joyride that is threatening to crash and explode at any second. And jeezus man the guitar solos- freakin wrecking balls. Super raw and aggressive tone, completely in your face and just flat out nasty and killer. This is super high energy, hardcore, and gets me moving and shouting every time. There are many great lyrical hooks: “at the cathouse turn I hit an oily patch, inebriation” ” I was laughing, the bitch was trashed” “oh Mr. Miracle…” Turning, tires burning”. Super fun, wild and exhilarating song, 10/10.

    Can’t remember the next song but its just mood into Disturbing the Priest. Okay, somewhat hokey but still the evil vibe is happening, and the “let’s try gettin to the sky” vocal part is shout along material. Also if you are an old Purple head like me, Gillans screaming towards the end is worth the price of admission. Also the “good life is contradiction” part is cool, and they move between different moods, while keeping the sinister vibe throughout. 7/10.

    Another short mood piece morphs into Zero the Hero. You glossed over this IMO, because even those in slag mode on BA will usually grudgingly give props to ZTH as being a great song. Well it’s better than a great song, I’m putting this up in my top 5 all-time Sabbath songs. Everything comes together here, and it is a glorious high point. The fade in, with its evil guitar jabs, sounds like Satans baby either being tortured, or calling to his minions. This morphs into a SUPER heavy low-register Iommi riff that is insistent, superb and prototypical great metal riff that is impossible not to headbang to. Geezer then plays a 4 whole-note doom riff, meshing impeccably with Iommis busier figure. And that last note sends shivers up my spine- atonal, adding to the unsettling vibe. This intro is superb- a death march up to the gates of Hell.

    Once the lyrics kick in it is a full-bore Sabbath grind that blows everything in its path to smithereens and a clear precursor to tunes like Them Bones from Alice in Chains. This may be the heaviest, most evil-sounding tune Sabbath has ever recorded. The majestic guitar solo stays with the raw non-overdubbed sound, and builds to a searing climax that leads back to the pile driving riff. A masterpiece. 10/10.

    For freaks sake man that’s just side one!!

    Digital Bitch is another kick ass rocker, with a raw and wild solo right out of the gate. The “keep away from the digital bitch” part is great, and there are raw, crazy fuzzed out and fucked up guitar solos all over the place. Super hardcore and Gillan is totally into it. 8/10, not an all time classic but enjoyable and very good for this album.

    I absolutely adore the title track. The vibe is somewhat mellowed, the pedal is eased up a couple notches, but still the tune is heavy, and packs an emotional wallop. Super inspired vocal delivery- Gillan seems to be practically self-ruminating with “icy fingers of forgotten passion” (what a great line), then he reaches deep for the “if you look through my door”. They song builds to the “born again” part, which is majestic and heavy, with more magnificent screaming. Its a change of pace tune that has emotion and depth. Doesn’t rise to all time greatness but still I consider this very strong. 8/10.

    Can’t say much about Hot Line and Keep it warm. Apparently the union between Gillan and the Sabs was… rancorous, and here they seem to precipitously lose steam. Both tunes are fairly non-descript, and suffer in comparison to what came before, yet they are both up-tempo and have great moments. Hot line is clearly better, and in fact upon reflection…; kicks some freakin ass. The “When will you show me a sign” (over Iommi’s screaming unison bends) part is killer, and there is more great screaming from Gillan. 7/10.

    Keep it Warm- its OK, nothing too memorable in the lyrics, but still heavy and enjoyable when you listen to it. Somewhat of a disappointment but not an embarrassment like the candy ass bullshit Gillans nemesis Blackmore was putting out at the time.

    Born Again has a wonderfully raw and uninhibited feel to it. The guys were still young and in their prime and they were all coked out bad asses who at that stage of their careers had already created some of the most memorable and unbelievable hard rock music of all-time. This is a gem and I consider it nearly a tragedy this lineup couldn’t stay together. This album is the considerably more sedate Perfect Strangers’ evil twin cousin who’s locked away in a psycho ward. Speaking of which, I believe Bill Ward played on the album and of course that is a reason that this platter has that special something that makes it noteworthy in the Sabbath canon.

    Not “perfect” by any means, but with considerable heft, and three absolute monster jams in Trashed, Zero the Hero, and Digital Bitch- hardly the abortion countless poseurs have slagged it off to be.

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    • Hi Steve. Thanks for stopping by & sharing your passionate views on Born Again. It’s clearly a divisive album in the Sabbath discography for many reasons, and I’ve come across just as many people who love it as those who despise it. They were surely onto something if they could release a collection of songs that triggered such varying opinions. I’ve never been a metalhead so my feelings on the genre are often drastically different than lifelong metal fans. I certainly didn’t slag off Born Again in this post, instead giving it what I thought was a pretty fair assessment. Sorry you couldn’t read the first paragraph on your screen. Here’s what I wrote. Hopefully you won’t lump me in with the poseurs you mentioned.

      For their next album, Born Again (1983), Sabbath turned to former Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan. On paper this was an excellent match, especially with the return of Bill Ward on drums, but unfortunately there are several serious problems with this record. First of all, there’s the hideous cover art. I’m not sure if it’s the image itself or the choice of colors, but instead of being creepy and scary it’s just ugly. Then there’s the production, which is very thin and tinny, and some of those ‘80s synthetic drum sounds even begin creeping in. Finally, although I love Gillan’s voice, he’s never been a great lyricist, and his work here is no exception. While Dio’s “sword-and-sorcery” fantasy lyrics were a perfect match for the heavy and bombastic music they were creating, Gillan’s more down-to-earth, regular guy lyrics don’t mesh well with the music. One major exception is “Born Again,” which is slow and sparse, creating a nice mood and letting the album breathe after numerous fast rockers (which I’ll get to in a moment). At nearly 6-1/2 minutes and covering various musical terrains, it’s this album’s “The Sign Of The Southern Cross,” an epic that showcases one of Iommi’s most spellbinding solos. Gillan’s voice is incredible as he delivers some amazing high notes, which is the case throughout.

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      • Phillip Helbig
        July 21, 2017

        One blogger who surely reads here says that it is his favourite album of all time by anybody. Reviews of Sabbath records regularly place it at the bottom of the barrel.

        Speaking of Sabbath, I’m sure that I’ve mentioned the Tony Martin story where, after having stage-dived into the crowd, he tried to get back on stage, but couldn’t, the security guys not believing him when he said that he was the singer. 🙂

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      • I’ve come across several people who consider it their favorite Sabbath album but haven’t met anyone who called it their all-time favorite album. I’m not even sure how you can have one all-time favorite album. I can’t even choose a favorite album by my favorite artist (Zeppelin), so to have one album that ranks above all others is not something I can do…but I respect anyone with that much passion.

        I love that Tony Martin story. Any idea how he eventually worked his way back to the stage?

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      • Phillip Helbig
        July 25, 2017

        It’s one of the most visible heavy-metal bloggers. (Note: quite different from a heavy metal blogger.) HMO? KMA? If he doesn’t reply, I’ll find the link and post it.

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      • It could be either of those gentlemen or one of a handful of others (like 80smetalman). I’m always happy to read when someone is super-passionate about an album or artist, so I’m curious to see who loves Born Again more than any other album ever.

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      • Phillip Helbig
        July 28, 2017

        OK: https://mikeladano.com/2012/05/12/review-black-sabbath-born-again-deluxe-edition/

        “Born Again is my favourite album of all time. #1. Numero uno.”

        Also from that review: Gillan maintains to this day that he was “the worst singer that Sabbath ever had,” while Ozzy thinks this is the best Sabbath album since he left the band.

        One might be tempted to think that the first quote above refers only to Sabbath albums, but I’m sure that somewhere else he wrote “by anybody”.

        While looking, I also came across this tidbit:

        I can’t copy and paste the whole paragraph at the bottom, so I’ll quote only “Even cheerleaders like Paranoid.” 🙂

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      • Thanks for finding that post from Mike’s site, Phillip. It was written 5 years ago and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lebrain revised his assessment about Born Again being his all-time #1 album. It’s clearly his favorite Sabbath album, and that likely hasn’t changed.

        Not sure I care about cheerleaders (or anyone else) liking Paranoid. A great album is great regardless of who enjoys it, or how over-exposed it might be. When I wrote my series about Paul Simon, I confirmed that Graceland is probably his most consistent (and consistently enjoyable) album. Some fans probably dismiss it because it was so popular but not me. Of course, the cheerleader comment is still funny, and I completely understand why some people lose interest in an album (or an artist) because of their mainstream popularity.

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  4. Steve Talpas
    July 20, 2017

    Rich: Thanks a lot for the reply. I was able to read your opening paragraph shortly after by simply refreshing the page. BTW, I thought your assessment was totally fair, if somewhat misguided :). At least there is some analysis at all, which from what I’ve seen thus far is in short supply in regards to BA. I kinda have a soft spot for this platter as at the time it came out I was floundering in life and would get together with friends and ingest illegal substances and blast this album. At 53 I can appreciate the ZTH riff for what it is, but at 19 it was something else all together.

    Once I saw your opening comments, sure enough the cover was mentioned. I must be one of the 17 or so people who have seen it that have no problem with it. Obviously it has nothing to do with the music, but to me it just fits the album concept- sinister and hard core. Album covers- what about those yoga tights Bill Ward wears on the cover of Sabotage?

    As for the production, I guess my ears just aren’t sophisticated enough. I haven’t listened to BA for a few years now, but I know what it sounds like, obviously, and again, I just don’t have a problem with it. Thin and tinny… to each his own, when I listen to Trashed about the last thing that comes to mind is thin lol.

    I’m glad I ran across your blog, you have some very analytical…. analysis that is the kind I enjoy very much. My musical tastes are varied, but hard rock and metal is home, so unfortunately you don’t have a lot from the genre. I would love to see your comments on Motorhead, Deep Purple etc.

    I saw your comments regarding Montrose. Just get the 1st album.

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    • Thanks for the kind words about the blog, Steve. I especially appreciated the “analytical analysis” part. 😀 I realize that my views on metal often differ from people who consider it their favorite genre, but the contrasting opinions usually make for fun conversations. It’s not that I don’t like metal. It’s just that it wasn’t my go-to music during my formative years. Back then Zeppelin (my all-time favorite band) was still considered heavy metal. During the ’80s metal boom I was into a lot of other things, so I had to go back & appreciate all the great music years later, and that gave me a different perspective than someone who lived through it. I’ve been planning to do a series on the Iron Maiden discography, as I came around to their music big-time when I finally discovered it in my 30s, but I simply haven’t had the time.

      I love Deep Purple, although until a couple of years ago I only owned the Deepest Purple LP compilation, the 4-CD career-spanning box set and a couple of their individual albums on CD. Then I went on a buying spree & scooped up most of the 2-CD expanded remasters. I like Motorhead but I only own the No Remorse compilation, as well as their complete discography on MP3 which I copied from a friend’s CDs. When I’m in the mood for them they’re pretty amazing.

      Not sure if you saw but I did write a series on the Metallica discography. Other than Sabbath that’s probably the most metal series I’ve done.

      As for Montrose, thanks for the recommendation. I eventually got one of those collections that has 5 CDs in replica LP sleeves packaged in a slimline box, so I now own all of their albums. The debut is amazing and the others are all very good.

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  5. Steve Talpas
    July 21, 2017

    That’s funny man, I was in the Army in Baumholder West Germany back in ’86, and the only Motorhead I had was the no Remorse collection… on cassette. Back then and considering where I was, it was hard to find music, period. I used to blast No Remorse in the barracks all the time. Can’t even remember what was on it now, other than “Steal Your Face” which never appeared on any studio release I knew of, but was awesome. Then somehow I got my hands on a cassette of Orgasmatron and all of a sudden everybody was into Motorhead. The video jukebox down at Burger King on the post had all this sappy Whitney Houston crap, but somehow there was Motorhead Iron fist, and Wasp Blind in Texas. We played those over and over, to the utter horror of the Whitney crowd.

    Speaking of Iron Fist, this is another much maligned album that I consider to be much better than given credit for. There’s 3- Born Again, Iron Fist, and South of Heaven from Slayer (although the insanity seems to be slowly ebbing as it recently placed in the top 50 of all-time metal albums per Rolling Stone).

    Anyway I’ll take on all comers on Iron Fist.

    Classifying musical genres gets silly after awhile. Zeppelin was kinda metal, but I think the term pretty much became popular with the rise of Judas Priest.

    Montrose 1st album was all killer no filler. After that, a lot more miss than hit. 5 Cd’s wow thats way more than I need, although he did some solo stuff in the 80s that wasn’t hard rock that I got into.

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    • I’m picturing the juxtaposition of Motorhead and Whitney Houston and I can’t help but laugh. Talk about two musical worlds that don’t intersect in any way.

      I agree regarding musical genres. I usually use them as a point of reference in conversation but I never think of genres when I’m choosing what I’m going to listen to. A band like Zeppelin transcends genres.

      I thought the second & third Montrose albums had good hit-to-miss ratios, but nothing like the nonstop barrage of awesomeness that was the debut.

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  6. Steve Talpas
    July 21, 2017

    Well Maiden thought enough of “i’ve Got the Fire” to cover it. Check it out sometime. Also they do a bad ass cover of Cross Eyed Mary from JT.

    Cant remember what else was on that jukebox but it was all mid-80’s garbage, however some devious metal-head at the video jukebox shop must have slipped the Motorhead and Wasp on there when no one was looking.

    Like

    • I’ve heard Maiden’s cover of “I’ve Got The Fire” on the Eddie’s Archive box set, although when I played it I wasn’t as familiar with the original as I am now. Looking forward to the next time I give that set a spin. I agree that their version of “Crosseyed Mary” is fantastic.

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  7. Steve Talpas
    July 21, 2017

    Also regarding genres, it all has to do with the era. When I think back to 1st hearing Motorhead, it sounded like the hardcore stuff I’d ever heard, and Lemmy’s voice the most gutteral. Listening to (early) Motorhead now you realize it was just blues riffs played with a shit ton of volume and attitude. The meth helped in that regard. They definitely ushered in a new era.

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    • I know what you mean about eras and how they can affect people’s opinions about genre. It’s another reason I try not to concern myself too much with genre classifications. I like your Motorhead description, which is almost like a mathematical equation: Blues + Volume + Attitude x Meth = early Motorhead.

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